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PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2018 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates is happening as we speak.

The PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2018 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates is happening as we speak. With Aloft Al Ain and Ayla Hotels & Resorts Al Ain as the Official Hotels during the three-day event, being a responsible guest is easy. Here is how:

Join Aloft Al Ain’s “Make a green choice” program by declining daily service, including replenishment of bed linen and unused towels. You will contribute towards the reduction of water waste created by doing unnecessary laundry. Door hanging cards are available in each guest room, and if you wish to participate, you simply hang the card outside your door.

If you are looking for the most important information you need to know about the destination, its culture, dress code and more, we have compiled a “Quick Facts” list for you here.

Further, here are some more easy ways to be a greener hotel guest – not only when you are on a business trip or visiting a trade show or event but also when you’re on holiday.

As always when traveling, refer to PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for ways to reduce your footprint while making a meaningful impact during and after your travels.

Enjoy your stay in Al Ain while meeting face-to-face with adventure product buyers and sellers from across the world and exploring the nuances, trends and dynamics of one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors!

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There’s no reason to delay the inevitable. No more I-will-do-it-next-week’s, no more I-know-I-should-do-it’s - it’s about time to end the toxic relationship so many of us are still in. For Valentine’s Day, UN Environment is urging everyone to ‘break up’ with single-use plastic. more » Read more
Getting rid of habits and changing behaviour to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle on a personal level can be challenging. Let’s say you have noticed that you throw out a lot of food because it has gone bad before you’ve had the chance to eat it and you want to reduce the amount of food wasted in the future. more » Read more

Guest blogger Jackie Edwards gives tips for business travelers and FIT on how to make a responsible accommodation choice.

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Traveling is an exciting pastime, but jetting across the globe can take its toll on the environment. Eco-conscious travelers can work to reduce their carbon footprint by looking for a sustainable hotel when booking their trip. Here are some tips on how to find eco-friendly accommodations on your next trip.

Book Near the City Center

Booking a hotel that’s within walking distance of local attractions can help tourists cut back on carbon emissions. A centrally located hotel eliminates the need to rent a car since attractions that are not nearby can often be easily reached by public transit. Some hotels offer bicycles for rent so that guests have an eco-friendly way to explore the city.

Not only is cycling and walking beneficial for the environment, but it can also help tourists to save on their trip. Renting a car can be significantly more expensive than taking public transit, and traveling by foot costs nothing at all.

Find Out About Water and Energy Usage

Guests can check out a hotel’s website or call ahead of time to see if the establishment operates using sustainable practices. Some eco-friendly hotels have made the switch to solar, wind, or geothermal power in an effort to go green, while others have started using LEDs and low energy bulbs to improve energy efficiency.

Water consumption is also a consideration when booking a green hotel. Guests should look for hotels that install fixtures such as low-flow toilets and showerheads. Some places even go so far as to collect rainwater. Hotels that boast pools and decorative fountains may not be a green choice, as they can drain water from the local environment.

Pick a Hotel that Gives Back

Eco-conscious tourists hoping for a relaxing break that is guilt-free, can find hotels in many areas that promote programs that give back to the local community, such as donation efforts, low-cost healthcare services, and nutritional assistance. Guests can also look for hotels that hire from within the local community to help support neighborhood families.

A hotel’s menu can also have an impact on the surrounding community. Locally sourced menus not only support local farmers but also reduces emissions from packaging and transportation. Guests get to enjoy fresh, home-cooked meals while knowing that they’re helping to make a difference.

Before booking your next vacation, take some time to research your hotel. Conscientious tourists can find eco-friendly hotels that help to preserve the environment and support their local community.

There are several online booking engines that can help you find a sustainable option on your travels:

 

See more of Jackie’s writing: 

A little closer to home: sustainable everyday life choices

A guide to sustainable travel for seniors

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

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Sharing has become a main driver for our economy. Using underutilised assets allows us to improve efficiency, sustainability and community. Through user-generated web content, and with the growing popularity of renting goods rather than buying them, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, connected, and conscious.

Here are some ways to become a part of this movement:

  • Check out these 14 pioneers of the “share economy” to learn more about what’s out there already.
  • Break it down to a more personal level and incorporate sharing in your everyday life to improve your sustainability efforts on a smaller scale yet with a bigger and long lasting impact.

Do you want to go on a journey to become more sustainable or even ultimately adapt a zero waste lifestyle, but don’t know where to start? Sharing knowledge and tips within a community of like-minded people is the key to success. Consider these three steps to get rolling:

  1. Get to know your neighbourhood: Explore the area you live in to see which services and goods are available locally. Visit nearby markets and keep your eyes open for small businesses that offer local and organic products but may not necessarily have their own brick and mortar store.
  2. Attend events to learn and connect: Browse for festivals, workshops or other sustainability-related events in your neighbourhood or city. Make sure to green your commute when you go. This is an opportunity to connect with local businesses offering organic or sustainable sourced goods and services. Building relationships is essential in the process of creating a stronger community, as knowledge and updates can be shared and accessed more easily in the future. Contribute to the conversation by sharing what you have previously discovered and learned about your neighbourhood.
  3. Grow your community: Raise awareness about causes that matter to you and invite friends and family to join you in an initiative, challenge or at the next event. Start conversations that encourage others to rethink their own behaviour and actions, and support them to change and improve their lifestyles in a sustainable matter.

Walking the talk is not always easy and you may face difficulties, but remember that together you can tackle every challenge more easily!

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Guest blogger Jackie Edwards reminds us about our everyday choices and suggests sustainable ways to start the new year!

Humans have unarguably an enormous impact on our planet. With a growing population needing ever more resources, it’s really important to think about how your life has an impact on the environment around you, and take responsibility.

Some of the greatest effects are the most obvious – like air travel, for example, which is why being a sustainable traveller is really important. However, there are plenty of things to think about a little closer to home as well – consumption of petrol in the USA has more than quadrupled since the 1950s. Sustainability is important in all areas of our lives but really does begin in the home. Small changes to your everyday life will add up over the years to help make a positive impact for generations to come, so consider what you can do differently.

 

Consumable resources

Reducing your water and electricity consumption is a great place to start. Both are necessary to everyday life, but making sure that you are using it efficiently and without unnecessary waste is really important. Get your plumbing checked out for any leaks, and reduce the amount of water your toilet uses to flush – and even try an eco-friendly shower-head. Swap your light bulbs for low-energy LED models, and remember to turn them off when leaving a room – as well as other electrical items like your TV or laptop. You can also help the bigger picture by switching energy suppliers to one committed to using green renewable power.  

 

What’s on the table?

Sustainability isn’t simply about using less: it’s also being smarter about what we do use. Take a look at your pantry and fridge: where does your food come from? How far has it travelled to reach your plate, and how sustainable are the growing and manufacturing processes. You don’t necessarily have to turn vegan, but choosing ethical and sustainable local sources for your meat and dairy products is one way to reduce your impact. Buy only what you need to reduce wastage, and set up a compost bin in your garden to avoid sending any organic scraps to landfill.

 

Shopping and material goods

Whether you’re picking up your weekly shopping or making a big, one-off purchase, take a moment to think about the wider impacts of your choice. Home cleaning products, for example, can contain some really nasty chemicals, which create problems further down the water system – and make sure that as much packaging for food and other products you buy is recyclable or reusable. This is also a good idea to consider when you’re choosing big-ticket items like furniture or electrical equipment: what is its lifespan and how will you get rid of it? Make sure it can be recycled or re-used, and consider paying a bit extra for a quality product that will last longer.

 

Some of these changes will require altering habits and comforts we just take for granted – but with a commitment to sustainability driving you, it won’t be long before this becomes the norm and you can be more confident about your impact on the planet.

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Many people all around the world enjoy coffee on a daily basis; however, the environmental impact of growing coffee is often not considered. We have previously shared how to enjoy a sustainable coffee break and how to give coffee grounds a second life. If you are interested in more ideas about how to reuse coffee grounds in the garden, in your house, as part of  your beauty routine, check out this blog with 21 creative ways to reuse your coffee grounds.

For now, let’s take a step back and have a look at the roots of coffee manufacturing to rethink what else we can do to green our coffee routine.

Traditional coffee farming techniques characterized by shade-growing methods have been widely replaced with sun-cultivation farming over the years. This is an issue because manufacturing sun-cultivated coffee means widespread deforestation and the elimination of plant diversity. Moreover, the growing use of fertilizer causes environmental harm and can impact the biodiversity of a region, as well as human health. So, look for the more environmentally friendly option of shade-grown coffee next time you shop coffee beans for your home or office.

When speaking about coffee, we often think of coffee beans only. Let’s have a closer look at another produce along the way: the coffee cherry fruit. Did you know that every year 46 billion lbs of the coffee cherry fruit is wasted, even though they can be used to produce coffee flour, or be eaten as a superfood packed with antioxidants? Or, try cascara, an herbal tea made from the dried skin of the coffee cherry fruits – another wonderful by-product of coffee production. Starbucks has even picked up on this in 2017 by introducing the cascara latte!

However you enjoy your cuppa, do try to make a conscious choice to consider how it is produced!

 

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Winter is back in many parts of our precious world. Skiing and snowboarding trips are on the calendar around the globe. Do you also have a snowy escape lined up? If so, keep on reading to find out how to make your carbon footprint of this trip a barely discernible snowshoe imprint.

To begin, find eco-friendly ski and snowboard equipment – from the actual skis/snowboard to clothing to wax and more. You may also source used equipment instead of buying new to reduce waste to landfill. Remember that you can always recycle/donate used gear that is still in good used condition. Choose jackets, scarves, gloves and boots that are previously loved or made from recycled material. Fleece products, for example, are often made from recycled plastic bottles.

Get to the slopes by using shared shuttle services or other public transportation instead of a personal car. This will help to reduce carbon emissions, air pollution and noise – not to mention eliminate the worry of your car getting stuck in the snow! Check out these ‘car-free’ and ‘no-car-needed’ ski resorts when choosing your holiday destination. Choosing an accommodation and ski resort that is dedicated to greening the slopes will help to lower the negative environmental impact or even result in a carbon neutral holiday. Look for opportunities to offset your footprint. Read more about how one ski resort aims at cutting carbon emissions to zero in the future.

All set for going down the slopes? For more food for thought on your next active winter vacation, read about the environmental impact of ski resorts and solutions and alternatives here. Let’s all go green so we can keep our slopes powdery!

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The countdown has begun! This joyous time of year has become its own season filled with lots of joyfulness, delicious treats and creative decoration for many people around the world. If you are looking for creative ways to host a fun and sustainable year-end gathering at work, we have just the right ideas for you.

Why not repurpose your office waste into some unique Christmas decoration? Gather old magazines, recycled paper or carton, as well as other recyclable waste from around the office to get the crafting session started. Take this opportunity to also talk about waste management and how to reduce waste in the office during the event.

Choose from a variety of green decorating ideas that are already out there or come up with your own using recycled goods from around your office. Whether you are creating ornaments, wreaths, or other décor, you will be surprised by how ‘waste’ can be turned into something glorious. You may even ask everyone to bring some more supplies from their homes. Be inspired by these recycled ornaments and check out these Christmas and winter crafts made from old toilet paper rolls or others made from old egg cartons.

You can even make your own Christmas cards or gift tags using old magazines or newspaper. All you and your colleagues will need are scissors and glue! And in case you are missing some essential arts and craft supplies, look for environmentally friendly options when purchasing them.

To take your get-together to the next level, you may even want to consider running a little workshop on how to upcycle used coffee grounds from your office’s pantry. A self-made candle from coffee grounds or a bar of soap makes the perfect eco-friendly Christmas gift.

Last but not least, put on some Christmas tunes and simply be jolly. Are you ready for the holiday season now?  Let’s get crafting!

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World Soil Day, celebrated on December 5th, is just around the corner. We invite you to be inspired by this year’s theme, ‘Caring for the planet starts from the ground.’ Let’s celebrate soils!

You may wonder why soil is so important and why it should be celebrated. The UN officially declared December 5, 2014 as the first annual World Soil Day with the aim to raise awareness about the critical importance of soil in our lives.

To secure food for our future, we need to guarantee healthy and productive soils – the healthier the soil, the more nutrients a plant can soak up. Let’s remember that soils are the foundation of vegetation which provides us with healthy food, animal feed, fuel, fibre, household goods and other essentials. To ensure that everyone around the world can have access to these essentials, it is important to be respectful to the environment wherever you travel. Soil, a non-renewable resource, is also important for providing an adequate water supply and maintaining its quality since the water absorption properties of soil play a role in reducing pollution from chemicals in pesticides and other compounds. You can find more reasons why healthy soil is vital to human life on earth here.

Start with educating yourself and others about the need and benefits of protecting and learn about the different types of soil and their nature. Why not spread the word on the importance of maintaining healthy soils using one of FAO’s infographics to support your message.

There are many ways to celebrate soil. FAO shares some ideas that can help you create some buzz around the World Soil Day:

  • Set up a meeting with local farmers in a field for an interesting discussion
  • Get people moving and active by organising a 5k run or (half-) marathon
  • Plan an exhibition or cultural performance that celebrates local agricutlure
  • Launch a poem or song-writing contest
  • Invite a guest-lecturer or speaker (be inspired by PATA’s example of teaching staff how to produce their very own healthy soil through composting)
  • Organise a field trip to plant trees that reduce soil erosion
  • Share a slice of a tasty World Soil Day (mud!) cake with your colleagues
  • Choose from FAO’s video material and display it at your World Soil Day event

You can also check for local events near you, browsing FAO’s worldwide events map.

No matter of the kind of activity you chose in the end, share your views and celebration photos on social media platforms using the hashtag #WorldSoilDay. Let’s care for our planet and celebrate this year’s World Soil Day together!

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